KL Rahul played a pivotal role in India’s 5-wicket triumph over Australia in the first match of the three-game series held at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on March 17. As a wicketkeeper-batsman, Rahul excelled with both his batting and gloves. The win was particularly significant as it was achieved under the leadership of Hardik Pandya, who captained India’s ODI squad for the first time.
The game commenced with Pandya winning the toss and electing to field first. Australia was dealt a blow when their primary keeper, Alex Carey, had to leave due to sickness. Josh Inglis was selected as Carey’s replacement.
Mitchell Marsh launched the innings and played an outstanding knock, scoring 81 runs off only 65 balls, including ten fours and five sixes. However, his teammates couldn’t offer him much assistance, and the Indian bowlers restricted Australia to a total of 188 in 35.4 overs.
India’s standout bowlers were Mohammad Shami and Mohammed Siraj, both taking three wickets, with Ravindra Jadeja also claiming two wickets. India’s bowling performance was particularly remarkable as they managed to recover after Marsh’s explosive innings.
In response, India had a rocky start, with Mitchell Starc and Marcus Stoinis removing Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav early on. However, Pandya and Rahul formed a partnership and led the team to 83 before Stoinis dismissed Pandya for 25. Rahul then teamed up with Jadeja, and the pair remained unbeaten, adding 108 runs for the sixth wicket, and taking India to victory with nearly ten overs to spare.
Rahul played a determined innings, remaining unbeaten on 75, marking his 13th score of fifty or more in ODI cricket. His achievement was lauded by the Indian dressing room and the crowd in Mumbai. Former India captain, Virat Kohli, who only scored four runs, applauded Rahul’s efforts in rescuing the team during a difficult chase.